Chime is an incredibly popular digital bank with more than 15 million customers. With so many people using the app for moving money, there are bound to be countless scammers trying to take advantage of everyday people.
If you’re a Chime user, it’s crucial that you know of any and all scams making the rounds on social media and other online platforms.
Most of these scams aren’t exclusive to Chime as well because scammers copy and paste these tactics to all popular digital banking platforms such as Cash App, Zelle, Venmo, and even traditional bank accounts. So, without further ado, here are the most common Chime scams:
- Bogus Chime support websites
- Fake Chime social media profiles
- Chime support phone calls
- Fake messages
- Money flip scams
- Unrequested Chime card
- Romance scams
- Craigslist scams
- Unemployment scams
- Refund scams
1. Bogus Chime Support Websites
For almost every successful financial company or bank, there’s a fake website on the internet that’s designed to take your information if you land on it.
As with any product or service, you’re bound to contact customer support sooner or later. Therefore, these bogus websites go hand in hand with phishing emails, texts, and calls as they direct you via a link to one of their websites that might or might not look similar to the original Chime site.
If you do land on a supposed Chime website, always check the URL (chime.com) to ensure you’re on an official website because otherwise, you could be sharing your sensitive information with nefarious third parties.
2. Fake Chime Social Media Profiles
So, we already know that cyber criminals make fake Chime websites, but they also make hundreds, if not thousands, of fake social media accounts in order to trick you into giving them your money or your login credentials and account numbers.
It’s important to know that all of Chime’s social media profiles have a blue checkmark which means that they are verified accounts. You can also access their social media accounts from the Chime homepage to be 100% certain you land in the right place.
3. Chime Support Phone Calls
Fake customer support calls are a menace. If your phone number is in any kind of database, there’s a big chance you’ll get robo-calls from scammers.
If someone is claiming that they’re affiliated with Chime and they need to verify your account for whatever reason, DON’T give them any details and simply hang up the line. Chime will never call you to ask for your personal information.
Instead, if you are worried, call the number on the back of the Chime card to talk to a real Chime agent.
Ways of contacting the company are also listed on its website and include:
- In-app chat
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone +1 (844) 244-6363
4. Fake Messages
The same as is the case with fake customer support phone calls, fake messages, emails, and DMs are prevalent today. The good news is that most of them end up in our spam folders. However, the ones that do go through can be equally as dangerous.
I get these almost every day. Sometimes they look hilariously fake and don’t even make sense, other times, they look legit. They can even come from the same number or email that your bank has, which is just incredible.
The advice is always the same; don’t share your details, and don’t click on links inside the messages, no matter how official the message looks.
5. Money Flip and Cash Flip Scams
If you have an account on any social media, it’s hard to escape scams that promise you money. Social media algorithms and engineers can’t stop scammers from opening endless accounts, posting their scammy posts, and sending millions of DMs.
There’s one scam that is particularly popular. It’s called “the money flip” or “cash flip” scam, and it’s making people believe it will 10x your money.
It’s also a great way to lose money as you’re required to send them some cash upfront, and they will, get this, give it back to you, plus a bunch more money. So, for illustration, if you send them $100, they will give you back $1,000 or more in a week.
Of course, times are hard, and funds, or lack of funds, is a major source of stress. But there’s really no justification for falling for this sort of con. No one, and I mean NO ONE, will 5x, 10x, or 100x your money. Why would they?
6. Unrequested Chime Debit Card
If you got an unanticipated and unsolicited Chime debit or credit card in your mail, it might mean that somebody opened a Chime account in your name.
It could also mean that it’s a fake card, and the scammers want to get your personal information when you call the ‘customer service’ number on the back of the bogus card.
Either way, it’s not good.
Scammers usually use these newly-opened Chime accounts as pass-through accounts where other scam victims send money and transfer the money out of ‘your’ Chime account in a matter of seconds if they have notifications enabled.
However, the main question is, how can scammers simply open an account in your name? You see, ever since the Equifax data breach in 2017, half of US adults had their information stolen and exposed, including their SSNs, names, addresses, etc.
It’s, therefore, incredibly easy to open a bank account in someone’s name.
If you get this unwanted Chime card in your mailbox, don’t just toss it away. Get in touch with the real Chime customer service and even the authorities and get the account closed as soon as possible.
If you neglect to do this, not only could criminals potentially open additional accounts in your name, but they could easily ruin your credit score and potentially cost you a lot of money.
7. Romance Scams
Romance scams are at an all-time high and rising. In 2020 alone, a record $304 million in losses were reported to the FTC. That’s around 50% more than the year before. And in 2021, that figure went up to $547 million, or almost 80% more compared to 2020.
A romance scam starts out with a fake social media or dating app profile. The scammers are oftentimes representing a military member that’s on duty overseas, but they could also be an oil rig worker, engineer, doctor, or similar person of authority and respect working in a remote place.
There’s a shocking number of scenarios that these people play out on their victims, and there are thousands of comments from everyday people on the FTC website that paint a gruesome picture of what it looks like to be scammed.
The scammers are smooth talkers and easily get people to fall head over heels for them. Their trick is to never ask for money straightaway but wait for the victim to completely trust them, which can take weeks.
They typically don’t start asking for cash or gifts until at least a couple of weeks had passed and you have exchanged hundreds, if not thousands, of messages.
The scammers make up all sorts of reasons they need money for. They usually “need” cash urgently to pay off gambling or other debts, pay for surgery for themselves or their relative, pay a fine, buy a plane ticket to visit you, ask for gift cards, etc. If you pay them once, the requests will never stop and will often be much higher.
Although it’s often very challenging to realize you’re in the middle of a scam once you’re already so deep into it, try to slow down and ask someone you trust for an opinion.
Other times, a simple Google search can reveal the information you were missing.
8. Craigslist Scams
Most seasoned Craigslist users have been targeted by a scammer. There’s no escaping it. It happened to me the other day as well as I was trying to sell a few unwanted things from my apartment.
The scammer will send you a message if the item is still available and if you would ship it.
What should raise the flag is when the buyer (or seller) is asking for too much information from you, information that they supposedly needed for the shipping company.
The scammers are after your personal details like name, address, and such, so they can send you a receipt saying that the money was deposited in your account and that it’s okay to send the item.
They can also open a bank or any other accounts they wish with your info.
And although scams can happen when you’re selling something, they are more prevalent if you’re buying a product or service or especially if you’re trying to rent an apartment.
Never pay for something upfront, as there’s a significant chance that the seller won’t send you the product or won’t perform service after getting your payment.
The same is true for deposits or partial payments. The biggest problem with scams is that, in most cases, you aren’t protected by Chime, Venmo, Cash App, and other similar apps in case of fraud.
You can try and reason with them, but 9 times out of 10, they will tell you that you authorized the payment or sent the money willingly.
9. Unemployment Scams
The pandemic was ripe with all sorts of scams. As millions of people were fired and started applying for unemployment benefits, scammers have, of course, targeted them in an attempt to get their personal information, money, or to apply for unemployment benefits instead of them and get the money in their own accounts.
The scammers started their criminal enterprise with fake websites and social media accounts, but also by contacting people directly via email, messages, and even phone calls.
They were asking people for money to help them file for unemployment or to finish an allegedly incomplete application. However, filing for unemployment is free and easy, so there’s no need to pay for this service.
These unemployment scams didn’t stop with the pandemic as scammers simply swapped unemployment benefits for some other type of benefit.
10. Refund and Recovery Scams
If you think that lightning never strikes twice and that you won’t be scammed right after you’ve just been scammed, you’re in for a surprise. Namely, some scammers target those that just got scammed, either by them or by someone else.
The scammers are very organized and even keep a ‘suckers list’ that has all known details about you, including what scam you fell for and how much you’ve paid.
That means that scammers might call or message you to offer help in recovering the money, items, or services that you were scammed out of. They might even tell you that you were scammed even before you realize that you were.
By using the information that they already have on you, they will instill trust and make them sound remarkably credible, especially if they’re imitating an authority figure, like a federal agent, lawyer, or police officer.
In order for them to “recover” your lost funds or to get your things back, you’ll have to pay an upfront fee that they call a “retainer fee,” “tax,” “processing fee,” “shipment and handling charge,” “administrative charge,” or even a “donation” for their good work.
Instead of this upfront fee, the scammers might ask you for your checking account number and other details so they can “deposit” retrieved cash into your account.
How to Protect Yourself Against Chime Scams?
Protecting yourself from scams on Chime and other platforms is inherently easy. You should never share your personal information or passwords with anyone, and especially not over text, email, or phone with people claiming to be Chime customer support members, government officials, federal agents, and other strangers in general.
Always have push notifications enabled because they will inform you of transactions and all other changes happening to your Chime account.
The best advice that anyone can give you is to use your common sense and listen to your gut when it’s telling you that things are off and don’t seem as they are on the surface.
Try not to be pressured into urgent actions. Stop and think. Google the things and phrases that the person on the other side is telling or writing you.
Report Any Suspicious Activity
If you notice an unfamiliar or suspicious transaction or any other account activity that wasn’t authorized, report it to Chime instantly, or you could be responsible for it, and your money could be gone. Additionally, Chime could suspend or close your account because of fraudulent activity.
What is Chime Doing About Scammers?
Although Chime probably won’t refund you if you get scammed, they are trying to shut down any fake accounts, websites, and social media profiles that crop up, but this is an uphill battle, and new ones are relentlessly appearing on a daily basis.
You can help their efforts by sending them an email or a DM through any of their verified social media channels, notifying them of fake accounts.
Will You Get Your Money Back From Chime if You Get Scammed?
Banks and even credit card companies are known for returning money to those that have been scammed. However, Chime isn’t a bank, and you can find many examples of Chime not repaying funds to scammed or hacked customers.
Sometimes, your only chance of getting back your money is to contact your local news crew. Once they start poking around, customers usually get refunded. Chime has also had more than 7,500 complaints raised against them at the Better Business Bureau in the last three years.
What to Do if You Have Fallen for a Chime Scam?
In the unlucky event that you’ve fallen for a Chime scam, you should immediately change your Chime password, turn off card transactions and report the incident to the Chime support, the merchant (if you see an unauthorized transaction), the police, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
There are many ways you can get scammed on Chime and other payment apps. For that reason, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself and others with the dangers lurking on social media.
Not only will you be able to recognize scams right away, but you can also help others not lose their hard-earned money.